Have you ever wondered why my Maltese constantly licks his paws? Well, the answer might surprise you. One possible explanation for this behavior is that your Maltese is experiencing allergies. Just like humans, dogs can also develop allergies to certain substances in their environment or foods they consume. This can lead to itching and irritation, causing them to lick their paws as a way to soothe the discomfort.

Maltese dogs are known to be prone to allergies, and one study found that almost 23% of Maltese dogs exhibited signs of allergic dermatitis. If your Maltese is constantly licking his paws, it might be a sign that he is suffering from allergies. In addition to allergies, other possible causes for excessive paw licking include boredom or anxiety. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and get appropriate treatment to alleviate your Maltese’s discomfort.

why does my maltese lick his paws?


Why Does My Maltese Lick His Paws?

Introduction: Maltese dogs are known for their adorable appearance and friendly personalities. However, if you’re a Maltese owner, you may have noticed a peculiar habit your furry friend has – licking his paws. While occasional paw licking is normal behavior for dogs, excessive licking can indicate an underlying issue. In this article, we will explore the reasons why your Maltese may be licking his paws excessively and what you can do to address this behavior.

Common Causes of Excessive Paw Licking

1. Allergies:

Maltese dogs are prone to allergies, and one common symptom of allergies is excessive licking and chewing of the paws. Allergies can be caused by various factors, including environmental allergens like pollen and dust mites, as well as food allergies. If your Maltese is licking his paws excessively, it’s worth considering whether he may be allergic to something in his environment or diet. Consult your veterinarian to determine the cause of the allergies and develop a management plan.

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2. Dry Skin:

Another common reason for excessive paw licking in Maltese dogs is dry skin. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from dry skin, particularly during the winter months when the air is dry. Dry skin can cause itchiness and discomfort, leading your Maltese to continually lick his paws in an attempt to alleviate the irritation. Ensure your Maltese is receiving proper hydration and consider using a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air.

3. Anxiety or Boredom:

Excessive paw licking can also be a sign of anxiety or boredom in Maltese dogs. Maltese are known to be companion dogs and thrive on human interaction. If your Maltese is left alone for long periods or lacks mental stimulation, he may resort to licking his paws as a form of self-soothing behavior. It’s important to provide your Maltese with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship to prevent boredom and anxiety.

Treatment and Prevention Options

1. Visit Your Veterinarian:

If you notice that your Maltese is consistently licking his paws excessively, it’s important to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. They will be able to examine your dog and determine the underlying cause of the behavior. Treatment options will depend on the specific cause, but may include allergy management, dietary changes, or medication.

2. Keep Paws Clean and Moisturized:

To alleviate discomfort and prevent further paw licking, it’s important to keep your Maltese’s paws clean and moisturized. Regularly check for any cuts, scrapes, or foreign objects lodged between the toes. Use a mild dog-safe cleanser to gently clean the paws and apply a pet-friendly moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.

3. Provide Mental Stimulation:

To prevent boredom and anxiety, ensure your Maltese receives regular mental stimulation. Engage in playtime, provide puzzle toys, and consider obedience training to keep your dog’s mind active and engaged. This will help redirect his focus away from excessive paw licking.

4. Monitor and Modify Diet:

If food allergies are suspected to be the cause of excessive paw licking, your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet to identify the specific allergens. Once the allergens are identified, you can modify your Maltese’s diet to avoid those triggers and reduce the likelihood of excessive licking.

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5. Use Distraction Techniques:

If you notice your Maltese licking his paws excessively in specific situations, such as during thunderstorms or fireworks, you can try using distraction techniques. Redirect your dog’s attention by engaging in a different activity or providing a special treat or toy to help alleviate his anxiety.


In conclusion, excessive paw licking in Maltese dogs can have various underlying causes, including allergies, dry skin, anxiety, or boredom. If you notice this behavior in your furry friend, it’s important to visit your veterinarian to determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. By addressing the underlying cause, providing proper care, and preventing boredom, you can help your Maltese overcome excessive paw licking and ensure his overall well-being.

Key Takeaways: Why Does My Maltese Lick His Paws?

– Maltese dogs may lick their paws due to allergies or irritations.
– Boredom or anxiety could be causing your Maltese to lick their paws excessively.
– It’s important to check for any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the paw licking.
– Regular grooming and ensuring your Maltese’s paws are clean and dry can help reduce excessive licking.
– Providing mental and physical stimulation for your Maltese can help decrease paw licking behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve ever wondered why your Maltese licks his paws, you’re not alone. It’s a common behavior that can have various underlying reasons. In this FAQ section, we’ll address some of the most common questions related to this behavior.

1. Is it normal for my Maltese to lick his paws all the time?

While some paw licking is considered normal for dogs, excessive and persistent licking may indicate an underlying issue. It could be due to allergies, skin irritations, or even stress. If you notice your Maltese constantly licking his paws, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Allergies, such as those caused by food, environmental factors, or even seasonal changes, can lead to itchy and uncomfortable paws. Skin irritations like fungal or bacterial infections can also trigger excessive licking. Additionally, anxiety or boredom can manifest in this behavior as a way for your Maltese to self-soothe.

2. How can I tell if my Maltese’s paw licking is due to allergies?

Identifying allergies as the cause of your Maltese’s paw licking can be challenging. Look for other signs alongside the licking, such as redness, swelling, or discharge from the paws. Frequent scratching, chewing, or licking other areas of their body can also indicate allergies. Your vet can perform tests to pinpoint the specific allergen and guide you towards the appropriate treatment plan.

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Common allergy triggers for dogs, including Malteses, can be certain ingredients in their food, pollen or grass, dust mites, or even fleas. By ruling out potential allergens and implementing measures to reduce exposure, you can help alleviate your Maltese’s paw licking and discomfort.

3. Could my Maltese be licking his paws due to a medical condition?

Yes, underlying medical conditions can sometimes cause excessive paw licking in Malteses. Problems such as skin infections, parasites like mites, or even arthritis could be the culprits. It’s essential to have your Maltese thoroughly examined by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

During the consultation, your vet may conduct tests, such as skin scrapings or X-rays, to identify any abnormalities. Once the cause is determined, the appropriate treatment plan can be put in place to relieve your Maltese of his paw licking tendencies.

4. How can I prevent my Maltese from licking his paws excessively?

To prevent excessive paw licking, you can take a few measures. First, ensure your Maltese has a proper diet with high-quality ingredients that suit his nutritional needs. Keep his paws clean and dry, as moisture can contribute to irritation and itchiness. Regularly check for any signs of skin infections or irritations.

Provide mental and physical stimulation to combat boredom and reduce anxiety levels. Engage your Maltese in playtime, offer puzzle toys, and consider obedience training to redirect his focus. Lastly, consult with your vet for any necessary medical treatments or recommendations to address the underlying cause of paw licking.

5. Can I use anything topical to relieve my Maltese’s paw licking?

Topical treatments can be helpful in relieving your Maltese’s paw licking, but it’s crucial to consult with your vet before using anything. Some ointments or sprays may be suitable for minor irritations, but it’s essential to ensure they are safe for dogs and specific to your Maltese’s condition.

Your vet may recommend antifungal or antibacterial creams for infections or prescribe medicated shampoos for regular paw cleaning. It’s important to follow their guidance and instructions to avoid any adverse effects. Remember, what works for one dog may not work for another, so professional advice is essential.

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